Anna Jermolaewa
"Untitled (Good Times, Bad Times)

>>      Because it’s like that now,
it won’t stay that way *)

>> at Galeria Arsenal in Bialystok

Michael Blum, G.R.A.M., Maruša Sagadin / Michael Hieslmair, Anna Jermolaewa, Franz Kapfer, Leopold Kessler, Martin Krenn, Lisl Ponger, Oliver Ressler, Isa Rosenberger, Jun Yang

Curators: Margarethe Makovec + Anton Lederer

You can find the catalogue of the exhibition in our publications.

Photos of the exhibition


Galeria Arsenal
ul.Mickiewicza 2
15 -222 Bialystok (PL)

Opening: Friday, February 13, 2009, 6 p.m.
Duration: February 14 - March 15, 2009
Opening Hours: Mo - So, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

No social system remains forever. What seems to be the best of all forms of coexistence today may already be corrupted tomorrow and its replacement by a new system is only a question of time. What is linked to this is, of course, our mission to work for the upcoming new and hopefully better system. Art dealing with the challenges of the present time can and has to have an effect on life, and first and foremost it has to raise our awareness of things. Raise awareness of subjects which are underrepresented in the public discourse or which are in desperate need of certain points of view and visions, subjects where art with its possibilities can convey ideas on a different level than journalistic or scientific work. It can disrupt the usual flow of ideas and celebrate the decomposition of the mechanisms of representation, push forward the disintegration of stereotypes and foster the conscious perception of a society, above all the consciousness of a grown environment too, of historical references and environments which play an important role in socially and politically committed art. History is permanently reconstructed through the present-day approach and our attempts at reinterpretation. There is enough need for a critical analysis of the constructions of history with the means of art, especially of those chapters in history which are rightly called unaccounted for.

Contributions to the exhibition:

Michael Blum's "The Three Failures"
"The Three Failures" is a kind of open-air talk which has been videotaped in three different cities. Each of these cities represents the failure of a political system at a given moment in history: the historical failure of communism, the present-day failure of social democracy and the imminent failure of capitalism.

, "Abdruck honorarfrei"
Since 1982 G.R.A.M. have collected press photos from the fields of politics, culture and science which depict for the most part touched up and staged snapshots of everyday work life. This collection is arranged in tableaus that tell us a lot about staging techniques, advertising strategies, ritualised poses and, quite generally, about the desire for public attention.

Maruša Sagadin / Michael Hieslmair, "The Rate of Return"
Based on the fictive example of the construction of an office building in Zagreb this project is an investigation into the present-day situation of real estate investment. Starting from the initial idea through the planning and construction stages right up to the renting of the property it unfolds the story lines of the people involved. Especially Europe's former Eastern bloc countries are still promising high growth and return rates for transnational investment conglomerates.

Anna Jermolaewa, "Untitled (Good Times, Bad Times)" and "Research for Sleeping Positions"
Both works have been produced at Vienna Westbahnhof. In the photo series "Untitled (Good Times, Bad Times)" you can observe pigeons how they take up different positions on the fingers of the big train station clock according to the time of day whereas "Research for Sleeping Positions" is a video piece where you can watch the artist try to find a comfortable sleeping position on one of the uncomfortable benches in the station concourse. Moreover, this is the place where back in 1989 she spent her first weeks in the former West.

Franz Kapfer, "Passauer Vignette"
With this video work the artist exposes certain attributions which have existed at least since the second Turks Siege of Vienna in 1683. On the one hand the Ottoman, or Turkish, threat to Christianity - and on the other, the Austrian emperor (residing in Passau in the meantime) and above all the victorious liberator, the Polish king Jan Sobieski. These patterns are deeply rooted in our consciousness and still make many members of our Christian Western civilization tremble whenever they come to think what might have happened if history had taken a different course.

Leopold Kessler, "Perforation Kal. 10 mm"
Perforated street signs that look as if they had been shot through are the basic material of this videotaped sculptural intervention. Subtle interventions into public space question our perception of reality and we realize once again to which large extent the world around us is constructed.

Martin Krenn, "Misplaced Histories"
For his photo series "Misplaced Histories" the artist has on the one hand taken pictures of places which were Aryanised in Nazi times, such as the Giant Wheel in Vienna or the Berlin Zoo, and, on the other, buildings which played a role in the course of the persecution of the Jews but are nowadays in danger of falling into oblivion, such as the concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk.

Lisl Ponger, "Work on Progress"
This double video projection presents two different scenes of the same production. Based on the baroque Vanitas painting "The Knight's Dream" by Antonio de Pereda the artist re-enacted the painting in the form of a tableau vivant and loaded it with present-day references and meanings. As each and every object, every detail bears a meaning, so does the angel figure wearing a T-shirt with "Destroy Capitalism" printed on it. On the second screen we see how someone is sweeping away the objects arranged on a table with only a few waves of the hand.

Oliver Ressler, "Fly Democracy"
The video installation "Fly Democracy" reflects present-day theoretical discourses on forms of direct or participatory democracy using ten different flyers with text passages written by various theorists as its central element. The work directly refers to the literal meaning of the word flyer but also to the mass airdrop of flyers, a propaganda method still commonly employed in military conflicts.

Isa Rosenberger, "Warschauer Nike"
Right in the city centre of Warsaw the artist asked several passers-by what they thought of their Nike monument, a melodramatic symbol of the victory against Nazi Germany. Their answers reflect a broad spectrum - from veneration of the monument to disdain and the wish for the monument's removal. General thoughts on the present-day relevance of such a monument can be elaborated from the personal relationships to this monument that the people have developed.

Jun Yang, "Camouflage - LOOK like them - TALK like them"
Based on the example of someone called X the artist tells us in this video story about migrants' efforts to subsist in a racist and xenophobic society, an endeavour which is especially difficult as his story is about illegalized people. One tried and tested measure seems to be to absolutely avoid attracting attention, to adapt oneself, to immerse oneself in the mass so to speak by wearing the same clothes, speaking the same language and moving exactly like the local people.

*) from: Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo